“I’m a rheumatologist – and here are 6 surprising foods that could be triggering your arthritis”

A leading rheumatologist has shared the six surprising foods which he says can trigger arthritis among sufferers.

Dr Taher Mahmud, Co-Founder and Director of London Osteoporosis Clinic, said diet is often overlooked in treatment plans.

And he says those living with the condition can transform their lives by making six small changes.

Dr Mahmud said: “For those with arthritis, the treatment goal is to manage the pain and inflammation and maintain as much function of the joint as possible.

“Treatments include medicines, weight loss, exercise and surgery, but what you eat can also have a significant impact. I advise my patients to see how these changes affect their symptoms and to keep a diary to help them understand which ones have the biggest impact so they can incorporate the changes into their diet in the longer term. But often the hardest part is to know where to start. There are six areas I’d advise to begin with.”

Dr Mahmud’s six foods to avoid if you have arthritis:

Nightshade Vegetables

Nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, and aubergines, contain solanine, a compound some people believe may exacerbate arthritis pain and inflammation. While scientific evidence is mixed, experimenting with reducing these vegetables can help determine if they affect your symptoms.

Processed and Red Meats

Processed meats (like sausages and deli meats) and red meats are high in saturated fats and advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which can promote inflammation. Observing how your body responds to these foods can be enlightening.

Sugary Foods and Drinks

High sugar intake is linked to increased inflammation in the body. So cutting back on sugary foods and beverages, including soft drinks, candies, and baked goods, might help reduce arthritis flare-ups.

Dairy Products

For some individuals, dairy products can contribute to arthritis symptoms due to the type of protein they contain, which may irritate the tissue around the joints. Experimenting with dairy-free alternatives can help identify if dairy is a trigger for you.

Refined Carbohydrates

Foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, and pastries, can also contribute to inflammation. Opting for whole-grain alternatives may offer relief and additional health benefits.

Gluten-Containing Foods

Although not everyone is sensitive to gluten, individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity may experience increased inflammation when consuming gluten. Trying a gluten-free diet for a period could provide insights into its effects on your arthritis symptoms.

Arthritis is a condition which causes pain and inflammation in a person’s joints.

There are two main types of arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Millions of Brits suffer from the pain and restrictions which arthritis causes, and for which there is no cure.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type in the UK and most often develops in people in their mid-40s and older.  But it can occur at any age as a result of an injury or if someone has a family history of the condition.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease in which the cartilage in the joint break down over time, leading to joint pain, tenderness and stiffness. As it develops, movement can become difficult and sufferers may need help with basic activities, particularly when it affects the hands. Other common areas include the spine, knees and hips.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is less common than osteoarthritis and the onset usually occurs when a person is between the ages of 30 and 50. Women are more likely to be affected than men. In Rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling.

Dr Mahmud added: “Limiting consumption of these foods or, better still, restricting them altogether, can have a huge impact on reducing symptoms.”